Solemnity of the Assumption at Mississippi Abbey
Scripture Readings: Rev 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10; 1 Cor 15:20-26; Lk 1:39-56
The Assumption is the patronal feast of our Order, and of our community. Why is that? A key principle enunciated by Pope Pius XII when he defined this doctrine was the principle of consortium: the principle that Mary was always sharing in the lot of Christ.
She shared in His sinless conception, His life of ministry, His passion, and now in His resurrection. We celebrate her sharing in His entire salvific life. As contemplatives we focus today on her sharing in these things interiorly.
It is a feast of our Order and community because interiorly, we want to share the lot of Christ. Christ, as we saw yesterday, brings poverty and insults. Thomas Merton tells us the monastic “seeks God not by speculation, but by a way more likely to find Him- the obscure and secret path of theological faith…It demands a renunciation of our own lights, and our own prudence, and our whole wisdom, and our whole self.”1
With Mary we share the lot of Christ: the injustices, the misunderstandings, and the mockery that no one in her right mind would share or should share…UNLESS… she has a really good reason.
And with Mary we find that reason to be love. We also share in His lot of consoling, healing, and self-giving. But can we love like that? Mary can because she was born without Original Sin, without self-centeredness. Not so with us. Yet what better model for imitation than one we can give our life to imitating and never exhaust the possibilities. And in directing our lives toward this, we are directing them toward the complete sharing in Christ’s lot that we commemorate of Mary today.
Earlier this year we witnessed this sharing in self-giving when we heard the vows of Sr. Mary Therese. This Friday we will witness it again with the solemn vows of Sr. Anna Mary. As we listen to her vows and recall our own, let us remember the words of G. K. Chesterton when he proposed marriage to his wife: “I have tried to love everything alive in dim preparation for loving you. Here ends my previous existence. Take it. It led me to you.”
1. Merton, The Silent Life, 2-3